I'll have whatever's lion around!
In Tucson, Arizona, Bryan Mazon, a former meat salesman is accepting prepaid orders for African-lion tacos that he plans on serving next month. He told the Arizona Daily Star that he’s taking this controversial route to get his name “out there.” He should be careful what he wishes for. Not so long ago, a chef in Philly hatched their own lion dish. While it’s perfectly legal to sell, cook, and eat lion (and just about any other animal that’s not endangered and/or hunted), the idea of making dinner out of the king of the jungle didn’t sit well with very many. In the end, the Philly chef was forced to remove the lion from his menu, and within a matter of weeks, he lost his job too.“I’m taking it off the menu,” says Zulli, but not because he feels he’s in the ethical wrong. “When my food stops becoming about the flavor, it’s just not worth it. It’s become a circus. No pun intended.”
According to the African Wildlife Foundation, it’s estimated there are fewer than 50,000 lions remaining in Africa from more than 100,000 two decades ago. Though hunting, habitat degradation and disease all contribute to the population decline, the most serious threat is retaliatory killing by local livestock farmers. In Tanzania 136 lions were killed by pastoralists in retaliation for livestock predation from 2004 to 2008.
However, the International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies African lions only as “vulnerable,” and the World Wildlife Fund doesn’t recognize them as an endangered species. (The African lion’s transcontinental cousin, the Asiatic lion, is in greater jeopardy.) “If the African lion was endangered, I would never, ever serve it,” says Zulli, “or support anyone who did.